Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Favorite Quotes - Part 2

"Your view of God is the most important view that you have. To the extent that your view of God is out of focus, your life is out of focus." Gordon Borror

I am in great debt to Dr. Borror. He was my worship professor in seminary and it was one of the best classes that I have ever had. Dr. Borror challenged me in the way I viewed God and the way I viewed worship. That class was revolutionary for me and so was this quote which was Dr. Borror's favorite.

The truth of this quote has impacted me differently at different times in my life. In seasons of my life where my view of God has been skewed and off, the quote has served as a reminder of the true attributes of God and of His greatness and sovereignty. In the seasons of my life where my view of God was as close to correct as I know, the quote served as a basis to stay where I was in my mind as well as a basis for worship.

If your view of God is off right now then your life is off right now too. If you view God is wrong (a cosmic Santa Claus, a cosmic killjoy, a genie in a bottle, etc.) then you will think and act wrong too.

Get in the Word of God and get to know who He really is!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Favorite Quotes - Part 1

I thought this week that I would take some of my favorite quotes and write about them. So here goes with favorite quote #1.

"You will be the same person you are today five years from now except for the places you go, the books you read, and the people you meet." John Maxwell

Do something that expands your horizons, that challenges the way you think, that gets you out of your comfort zone. Allow your small view of life and way of thinking be challenged and expanded by the new.

It is so easy to get into a rut. It is so easy to get so wrapped up in our own little world that we can't see beyond ourselves and our little lives. We constantly struggle against this so we constantly need something to stretch us and pull us out of mediocrity. I love this quote because it gives one way to do just that. Pursue and experience the new and do it not for pleasure sake but to aid you in seeing beyond yourself.

The three ways, according to this quote, to do this is to read new books, see new places, and meet new people. Seeing new places doesn't require as much time and money as you think and those new places do not have to be beautiful or fun places. Seek out the new to change you. Travel to dirty, poor, and needy places to see how others live and be moved with compassion. Travel and see the different parts of nature in God's amazing creation. Travel and appreciate.

Meeting new people is easier for some than it is for others, but the more people you meet and invest in, the more perspectives you will have by which to view life. The more people you meet, the better person you will be if you constantly keep a right perspective of God and people. Meet new people and appreciate them. Allow them to be them and don't ever get prideful because you think you are better.

READ new books! This may be the one area that requires the most self-discipline but is at the same time the easiest to do. And this one is huge. Just think, by picking up a book and reading, you can get inside the brains of the greatest theologians, romantics, scientists, poets, preachers, counselors, creative thinkers, and the list goes on and on. Just by reading, you have a world of knowledge, wisdom, insight, and perspective at your fingertips that you would never have in your brain if you chose not to read. If you don't ever read, you will never grow. You will stay small in your thinking. This is probably the most important of the three. You must read if you want to get out and stay out of a rut. You must read if you want to grow.

So yeah, expand and grow. Go see some new places (maybe just drive in a new neighborhood that you have never seen), meet some new people (reach out beyond yourself - say "Hi, how's your day going?"), and most definitely read some new books (go get a library card and get started!)! It will change you for the good if you let it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Make His Mark

"Our mark isn’t worth our life. Living to make my mark is too small a thing to give my life to, but to somehow be positioned in a place where God can work through me is something worth giving my life to." Andy Stanley

Accepting That Which I Do Not KNow

The other day, I was taking pictures with the camera on my phone and then emailing them to myself at home so I could use those pictures on my blog. While I was doing this, it occurred to my how crazy amazing technology is. I mean, here I am miles from home, taking pictures of the nature around me and then driving home and when I get back to my computer the pictures that I just took are already there for me to use. Now maybe your brain doesn't work this way but mine really freaks out when I think about it. How in the world does this amazing technology work? Then the next thought on my mind was how many times in a day that I willingly and joyfully use something (phone, computer, Internet, microwave, hot water heaters, car, plumbing, heat, satellite TV, electricity, etc.) that I have no idea how it works. I do so without questioning how or why it works . I just know it works and I use it. All of the inventions that I use to make my life better and easier, I just use without questioning. I don't get mad at them or stop using them because I don't know or can't understand how they work.

As I pondered all this, I wondered why I treat God so differently. Why do I question the way He works? Why do I think I have to figure Him out? Why can't I just run to Him and trust Him in everything? Why can't I embrace the truth that I already know? Why can't I just exist in the peace and joy that He brings when I trust? Why do I have to get obstinate at times and demand to know how and why He is who He is? Why does His actions or lack of actions bother me? Isn't God so much more important and trustworthy than my Blackberry?

"Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. " Isaiah 64:8

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Great Fall Run

I just got back from a great fall run. I ran 33:37 and it felt great. I haven't been running much recently and I hate that, but it sure felt good to pound out some miles today. The temperature was around 40 degrees and I'm sure not used to that yet but it was great nonetheless. I set out with just myself and my Zune. I listened to a sermon by Francis Chan. It was a great combination of exercise and the Word of God. The trail was wet and littered with colorful leaves. The scenery itself was beautiful. I love the fall. I am thankful for the ability to run and thankful that I live in such a beautiful place like Morgantown, WV. I put up some pictures of the trail where I get to run and one of me right after my run today. Maybe now, after today's experience, I'll start running more often but I know continued diligence and discipline is still very much required. We'll see! :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

My "Little" Girl

I know that Brannon is still a little girl. She is only 5 years old, but still; it blows my mind how big she is and how much she can do. She can actually see over the top of the shopping cart now so she can push it around the grocery store without running into things. Becky and I are always amazed at how fast she has and is growing (she is learning to read right now!). I know it is not a new phenomenon and that every parent experiences it but it doesn't make it any less mind blowing to me. It seems like yesterday that she was just a baby or running around in diapers. It just blows my mind how big she is!

Yesterday in the grocery store, Brannon and I were having a conversation about how big she is and about how much she has grown. Right after that she asked me to pick her up and hold her and carry her through the store. I looked down and my "little" girl who has grown so much and I asked her when she was gonna be too big for me to hold. Her answer was so great! She looked up at me and said, "Never!" Needless to say, I picked her up and held her and carried her through the store and I did so with tears in my eyes. I hope she always feels that way!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Perspective is Reality

Maybe you've heard the phrase, "perception is reality" which means that the way that each individual perceives life, that is that person's reality and it affects and often clouds one's ability to relate to others.

"Perspective is reality" is my little tweak to this idea. Yesterday, I was having a conversation with a friend and told them of an idea that Becky and I were considering for our family. When I was done, he was looking at me like I had just grown a second head. He then proceeded to insult me and tell me why that idea was a dumb one. Now I was a tad bit offended and wondered why he thought he knew what was best for me and my family and wondered what gave him the right to tell me so. Then it hit me: "perspective is reality"! From his perspective, I'm crazy but from my perspective, everything about my idea makes perfect sense.

As I walked away from this conversation, I realized something about perspective, reality, and grace. Most people do not have the same perspective as me and therefore have different ideas about how to live life. We all have different personalities, backgrounds, motivations, sin issues, etc. and we all think we know what is best. The problem comes when we try to impose our perspective on others and give no grace for people to have their own ideas. This could be anything from how we keep our house to our opinion on adoption to where someone wants to live. It could be anything! We have thoughts and opinions on everything which is fine until we think our way is the only way. The world would be a much nicer place to live if we enjoyed our perspective and opinions but kept them to ourselves. It would be even better if in our attitudes and especially our words, we gave others the same freedom that we desire - the freedom to live according to our own perspective.

Here is a short side note for all of you out there who love to jump to conclusions. I am not talking about the essentials of the Christian faith or sin issues (although grace in both of these is a much better alternative to a judgemental attitude). I am talking about the everyday things of life that make up our personal preferences. You know, all the things that are no big deal, but we make a big deal of them because everybody is not just like us. Anyway I'm just sayin.......

Strive to be a dispenser of grace in all things!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Marley and Me

Last night, Becky and I watched Marley and Me. It was a great movie! It probably ranks up there in my top ten movies of all time. In lots of ways, its a "dog movie" and I am not a dog person at all so one might think that I would not like the movie. But it says so much more about life and relationships than just being a "dog movie". I was so pleasantly surprised that Hollywood produced a movie that romanticised true love, family, and commitment instead of the usual flicks that promote romance, casual sex, and pleasure.

The movie had much to say about the hardships and difficulties that come with family, children, and commitment. It didn't sugarcoat the fact that family life especially when starting out isn't all fun and games. It is hard work. Tiredness is a constant and much stress is placed on the marriage relationship. It didn't shy away from the "look at all I've given up" conversation. It showed the hard times but in the end, revealed the product of committed relationships and family.

It was such a good time for me to watch Marley and Me. This is the exact stage of life that I am in and it is very difficult. Having three children under the age of six is constant work in addition to trying to carry out another "job" as well (parenting is the hardest "job" you will ever experience). You can't ever clock out from being a parent or a spouse and the issues are non-stop. Even having enough milk in the house is a constant battle at the cereal loving Suiter house and that is a VERY small thing. Mary was born at the beginning of 2009 and it has been a very trying and hard year. I never even saw it coming. There have been times when I wondered if I was going to make it but through it all, I realize how incredibly blessed I am!

There are still many moments when my frustration level gets very high (like this past week during a wind storm when I was up practically all night with 2 very frightened little girls) but the reality is that I am blown away but the goodness of God. He has blessed me with a wonderful wife and three beautiful little girls. Every time I hold any one of the four of them, I am moved with gratitude and amazed that I get to be Becky's husband and Brannon, Anna, and Mary's daddy.

Check out the movie. Its really good, but a small piece of advice for all you young couples out there who don't have children yet: remember when watching the movie that while it doesn't romanticize the wrong things, it still romanticizes things and it takes a lot longer to see your kids past 2nd grade than 115 minutes!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Pain of Discipline

Discipline is so hard! It doesn't matter if its self-discipline or discipline imposed as a parent. Both are incredibly difficult though for totally different reasons. But with either one, living by accident is so much easier and doesn't take much thought or intentionality at all. The only problem with living a life with no discipline in it is that the outcome really sucks. The Bible and experience prove the that to be true - that discipline is never pleasant in the moment but in the end produces strong character and integrity.

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11

I hate having to make (force) myself to do something. Being lazy (living by accident) is so much easier but I don't want the life product that laziness and a lack of disciple produces. So I must persevere in my pursuit of self-discipline. This is also majorly true in the lives of the children that God has entrusted to me. I cannot even begin to explain how hard raising kids is and being consistent with what you say to them and consistent in their discipline. It is never fun disciplining my girls and so much easier to ignore their disobedience. But since I love them, I cannot neglect disciplining them. I want them to grow up and be amazing, productive lovers of Jesus Christ. This will never happen if I neglect discipline in their lives.

So I must pursue discipline in my life and in my kid's lives if I desire to attain any semblance of what God wants for me and for them.

And thanks be to a great and Holy God who loves me enough to discipline me as well. I praise Him that He is the perfect parent.

"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." Hebrews 12:5b-6

My Blogging Hiatus

Sorry I haven't been doing so well on my blog recently. I don't really have any good excuses. I just have been in a different spot recently trying to figure out what God has in store for my life, and ministry as well as some practical things in the life of my family. I have been very introspective and haven't felt like sharing much. I hope to get back to regular blogging this week as God is leading in new directions in my spirit.

Oh and maybe, I'll start up blogging about my runs again soon - that is if I ever find the time to run. AHHHHHH!

Anyway, thanks for your patience. I hope you have been checking my blog and will continue to do so and keep reading. I will do better about posting in the future.